Army Blanks Air Force, 3-0

Parker Dixon celebrates his first career goal

Parker Dixon celebrates his first career goal

Aug. 25, 2012

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WEST POINT, N.Y. - Sophomore goalkeeper Winston Boldt stopped all seven shots he faced and three Black Knights tallied first-half goals as the Army men's soccer team defeated service academy rival Air Force, 3-0, in the season opener for both teams Saturday night at Clinton Field.

More than 2,300 spectators were on hand to witness Army's first victory over the Falcons since posting a 1-0 double overtime decision in 2007. It also marked the Black Knights' first season-opening win since beginning the 2009 campaign with a 2-1 triumph versus NJIT.

"I'm extremely proud of our guys," said Army head coach Russell Payne. "Their preparation was pretty sharp this week, and they were extremely focused and ready for this game. I thought we had some good moments where we executed, and we had some moments that weren't too pretty. Overall, I believe we showed a lot of maturity out there tonight.

"Air Force is a very good team," added Payne. "They had a good season last year, and a lot of people are expecting big things out of them this year. For our young guys to match them in different parts of the field and grow a little bit as the game went on was good to see."

Air Force (0-1-0) actually carried the play over the first 10 minutes, registering three shots and four corner kicks in the opening 10:31. The Falcons were unable to capitalize, however, and it was Army that broke on top and seized momentum over the remainder of the half and into the second stanza.

After withstanding Air Force's initial onslaught of offense, the Black Knights (1-0-0) jumped out to a 1-0 advantage when freshman Parker Dixon converted his first career goal at the 14:22 mark. The goal materialized following a Falcons' foul on the Army half of the field. Sophomore Tommy Jaeger ignited the play when he lofted the ensuing direct kick from beyond midfield into the penalty area. Senior Trent Brown then chested the ball down to Dixon, who drilled a rocket of a shot past Air Force goalkeeper Matt Underwood.

The Black Knights made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute when senior Josh Koeppe took a feed from classmate Michael Kim off a corner kick, dribbled unguarded near the 18-yard line and ripped a shot from the top of the box into the upper right-hand corner of the cage.

Senior Arnold Chun padded Army's lead just before halftime when he took a long pass from freshman Justin Kim and unleashed a bending shot from 30 yards out. Underwood, who appeared to have been screened by one of his teammates on the play, was unable to get a hand on the shot, which curled away from the Falcons' keeper and found the back of the net.

The three-goal cushion was more than enough for Boldt, who was masterful throughout the shutout performance. The second-year keeper was forced to make several difficult saves in order to keep Air Force off the scoreboard.

"We came out with a lot of confidence, and those early goals just fed that confidence," said Boldt, who recorded his second career shutout with this evening's blanking. "We controlled the pace of the game throughout, and it feels really good. To beat Air Force is special. We had a great crowd here cheering us on tonight, and it means the world to have all of that support. I can't even explain how good it feels right now."

Army outshot Air Force, 14-13, while the Falcons held a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks. The match, which was physical from the outset, featured a total of 34 fouls and seven cautions.

Underwood finished with four saves for Air Force.

Army returns to action on Monday, Aug. 27, when the Black Knights travel to South Orange, N.J., to face Big East rival Seton Hall. Kickoff for the non-league match is slated for 7 p.m.

Match Notes: Army improves to 14-7-3 all-time versus Air Force ... the Black Knights' victory tonight snapped Air Force's modest two-match series win streak ... Army unveiled a new set of uniforms for tonight's contest ... prior to the match, members of Army's "Glory Years" teams were honored in a special on-field ceremony ... the group advanced to four straight NCAA Final Fours from 1963-66 ... Arnold Chun's goal was his second career tally ... Justin Kim recorded his first career assist and point when he assisted on Chun's marker.

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